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Royal Roundtable: Grading Monte McNair’s deadline performance

The crew gathered together to share their thoughts on the deadline.

Over the last few days, Monte McNair finally took some action and overhauled the Sacramento Kings. Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley, Tristan Thompson, Jahmi'us Ramsey, and Robert Woodard are gone. Domantas Sabonis, Donte DiVincenzo, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb, Josh Jackson, and Trey Lyles are here. In 48 hours, the Kings traded away or cut about 35% of their total minutes played this season, and some members of the crew have gathered together to share their thoughts regarding the last 48 hours or so.

Tim: B-

I’m having a really, really hard time processing this trade deadline. The Kings got better. They got rid of Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley, and Tristan Thompson, three of the hardest players on the Kings to root for on any given night. Monte McNair managed to swing Marvin Bagley for actual value in Donte DiVincenzo. A couple of solid role-playing wings were acquired. Oh, and they added a freaking 25-year old All-Star and the best player on the Kings since DeMarcus Cousins who’s making only $18 million per season.

They didn’t give up any picks. They didn’t add any long-term salary. They didn’t force themselves to overpay for some aged veteran who isn’t going to do shit. All positives all around.

All they had to do was sacrifice the brightest future star in their hold, Tyrese Haliburton. And that’s why the struggle is real, and may or may not be real for others, depending on how far one thinks Tyrese Haliburton can go. Personally, I project him as a multi-time All-Star who leads the league in assists on multiple occasions and who continues to operate as a top-5 or top-10 three-point shooter in the league. That is a deadly combination, perhaps more deadly than Domantas Sabonis, or perhaps Hali never reaches that potential. No one freaking knows.

All of that taken into consideration, I’m giving the deadline a B-minus. That may seem a little harsh, but the Kings didn’t trade Richaun Holmes, who hasn’t looked engaged on the court, who hasn’t been good on the court, who is too good and too highly paid to be a 15 minute per game backup, and whose value is only going to decrease between now and the draft due to him coming off of the bench. The Kings took a big swing on Domantas Sabonis, which is a high-risk, high-reward gamble when compared to Tyrese Haliburton’s potential, and they added solid wings who may not be here next year or the year after. I appreciate the fact that the front office didn’t totally screw up or make an obviously terrible trade, but that’s also such a low bar to vault. The Kings got better, but this roster as currently assembled is probably an 8 – 10 seed in the Western Conference if given an entire season together. They have very little floor spacing, no rim protection, and they need another high-level talent to add next to De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. There’s a lot more to do.

Rob: B+ / C-

Two grades here. The B+ is based solely on the vision of this organization and the results of the trades through that lens. And through that lens, you cannot deny that the roster is more talented and more balanced than it was 48 hrs. ago. For as good as Tyrese Haliburton was at setting up his teammates, Domantas Sabonis appears to be a guy that will make all of his teammates, and from an entirely different area of the floor. His presence still allows Fox to play the 1.5, but Fox benefits more from Sabonis than Haliburton via the inside-out game. The passing can now go around or across the floor, out to in or in to out. Everyone benefits offensively. And Sabonis brings toughness to the floor as well. The cost was substantial, but so was the gain: a 25 yr. old player at a position of need in the top 10% of the league’s talent on a friendly 2.3 yr. contract. I won’t dwell on the sum of the other additions, but Holiday is a solid 1.3 yr. add (preferably off the bench), and the Kings get to kick the tires on The Notorious DDV, who would potentially be a nice 4th guard (behind Fox, legit shooting guard, and Mitchell).

There is still a mountain to climb to see this vision through. The Kings still need to add another top-end talent. It’s a long shot that Barnes can be that guy, but not 100% out of the question? Rim protection is still an issue, especially until/unless Fox improves defensively. But the roster additions (and notable subtractions) make this team better than it was a few days ago. This is a team that could be a low 40s win team next year. Add a really good player and you’re sniffing 50 wins and bypassing the play-in round. That would be truly exciting. Oh, and a really good head coach, please.

The C- is for the direction. I’m not sold on it yet (again, a lot more work to be done as this permutation of front office steams towards its third off-season. I would have been more inclined to sell off pretty much anyone but Hali and hit the reset button. I get why they didn’t - the current front office would likely not last through the rebuild. This tradeline’s deals make sense for the front office. I’m just not sure yet that they make sense for this organization three years from now. Time will tell and all that.

TL/DR: If your hope was that this team would be more fun to watch and a little better, I think you can unfurl the “Mission Accomplished” sign. If your hope is for a viable, 50 win team, there is still a ways to go.

Tony: C+

This is a tough one. I’ve been loudly disappointed in Monte McNair’s run as Sacramento Kings GM thus far, and while I don’t hate what he did at the deadline this year, trading Tyrese Haliburton this early in his career because of the organization's obsession with ‘win-now’ is scary. When your trades are motivated by impatience and waning job security, the door is wide open for disaster. I thought a slower build was more sensible. Trade the vets, accumulate draft assets and young players, maybe trade De’Aaron Fox, build with youth around Haliburton, and try again next year.

But that wasn’t McNair’s path, and it was probably never going to be his path. If I can put what I thought was best to the side for a minute and align myself with what Monte McNair wanted to do, he did a pretty good job building a win-now team while focusing on players who also have their best basketball in front of them. Domantas Sabonis is awesome, and only 25. Donte DiVincenzo isn’t awesome yet, but he’s also just 25, a restricted free agent, and could be in Sacramento for a long time. McNair didn’t sell the future for players in their high 20s or early 30s. He didn’t trade away any draft picks. The Kings got better.

So I’m giving him a C+ because I don’t want to give him an incomplete, but ‘incomplete’ is closer to how I feel than any letter grade. I love what he salvaged out of Marvin Bagley’s run in Sacramento. Getting a player like Sabonis without giving up any picks sounds great. But if Tyrese Haliburton reaches his full potential in Indiana and Sabonis leaves in unrestricted free agency in a couple of years because McNair can’t finish building this group into a good playoff team, yikes. It could get pretty ugly. This needs to be a playoff team next season, and there is still a lot of work to do.

But for now, I’m just going to try to enjoy this team for what it is. Sabonis’ debut vs. the Timberwolves was the most fun I’ve had watching a Kings game in a while. I’ll worry about Haliburton’s stardom later, and be hopeful that McNair can finish what he started at the deadline, and build this into a playoff team before Sabonis hits free agency.

Rich: F

It would be easy to embrace denial after a fantastic debut game from Sabonis, but the truth is that he is not a franchise-altering player. He’s good, not great. He’s never won a playoff series in the much weaker Eastern Conference and hasn’t even won a playoff game since Paul George and Victor Oladipo were making All-NBA teams. He would need a whole lot of help to make the Kings relevant. Way more than what they have now or are likely to get any time soon. It hurts to hear, but Sacramento still sucks.

And what did they give up for him? Only their best young players in years. Possibly the only player who really wanted to be in Sacramento. Easily their biggest fan favorite. Someone that many teams would have fallen all over themselves to get their hands on. That’s if they had known he was available, which they didn’t. Nice work, Monte.

But most importantly, they gave up the player that fits best with the only sensible path forward. Haliburton was the perfect piece to build a sustainable and successful future around. But that would require patience and intelligence, two qualities the Kings are simply allergic to.

When the drunkest guy at the party launches himself off the roof toward the shallow end of the pool, you shouldn’t applaud the decision, no matter how cool it looks in the moment. Even if they hit a reverse somersault into a perfect jackknife and stick the landing, it is still a pisspoor idea and it should not be encouraged. That’s the best way I can describe this trade deadline for Sacramento.

The Kings did the stupidest thing they could do, but they did it in an impressive way. I’m fine with the people who want to judge each individual move in a vacuum and add points for style and hype. But I’m not interested in that. The Kings went in the absolute wrong direction and they deserve nothing more than failing marks for it.

Bryant: B+

I agree with many of my fellow writers here that this is not the direction I’d have gone if I was Sacramento. I’d have rather seen this team move forward with Fox and Haliburton, trade all veterans, bottom out for a higher pick this year, and go from there. But that is clearly not what Monte McNair ever wanted to do - and if he was determined to get his All-Star now, I think this was as grand a move as we could have expected.

Sabonis will make the Kings a joy to watch again. I’m excited to see the Kings with actual wings again, and both Holiday and Lamb will fit this team well. I’m still utterly floored the Kings got Donte DiVincenzo for Marvin freaking Bagley (honestly, I’m still dreading a Woj or Shams tweet that unveils the Kings secretly sent out a protected 1st rounder in one of their deals this last week). I’m not putting any stock into Trey Lyles or Josh Jackson (please don’t go look up my 2017 draft board), and I’m nowhere near as bullish on the Kings overall depth as some of my compatriots here. But the Kings are certainly better than they were a week ago.

I believe this team was one more move away from fully launching this squad to something meaningful. I feel for Richaun Holmes, but I am apparently the only person on the Kings Herald staff who wants to see him and Sabonis get meaningful minutes together - I really think it can work, at least defensively! As soon as Monte tossed down the cards and the Kings’ direction became apparent, I was hoping for a Barnes + trade in one more talent upgrade, as I don’t think this team will get where it wants to go if Barnes is their 3rd best player. But after nearly two seasons of waiting and begging for Monte McNair to take a step in any direction, I won’t overly complain when he does so without a clear and obvious stumble.

These were two good moves, even if they took a direction I wasn’t thrilled with. I might be a tank commander, but if this team is determined to play for the play-in, at least they won’t be boring while they do so.

Greg: B-

As others have said, this is not the direction I would have chosen. Being win-now buyers when you're 12th in the West seems short-sighted. It will be possible, though rather difficult, for the Kings to make the play-in this season, let alone the actual playoffs. The bar for success is higher than what I believe the Kings can accomplish this season, and as such I don't think win-now was the right approach.

So why such a high grade? Because if the Kings were going to be in win-now mode, which they've clearly been in for years despite what the win totals will tell you, they made some really strong trades.

Losing Haliburton hurts, and could absolutely come back to bite the Kings in the ass. But we've spent months criticizing Monte McNair for not trading assets when their values are at their peak, and then turn around and criticize him for trading Haliburton when his value is really, really high. Haliburton has never looked better than during the recent stretch without De'Aaron Fox. If McNair thinks that Fox and Haliburton can't be optimized alongside each other, and if Fox's value wasn't terribly high at the moment, maybe this was a chance to trade Haliburton at peak value. Kings fans know as well as anyone that player growth and development isn't linear or guaranteed. Losing Haliburton is a risk, but it's too early to call it a failure.

In the meantime we know the Kings got back Domantas Sabonis, an absolute monster on offense, a rebounding force, and a passing marvel that could make the Kings fun as hell to watch again.

At the end of the day my grade is higher because McNair traded away many of the least enjoyable Kings players, brought back enjoyable players, and gave up only a single prized asset in the whole process. It's easy to forget that as much as we loved Haliburton, that's the only blue chip McNair gave away. The Kings have all their draft assets. The Kings have some really good pieces not just for this season's ill-fated playoff push, but for the future.

My grade would have been higher if the Kings could have unloaded Richaun Holmes and/or Alex Len and provided this roster with a little more balance, but overall I think it was a very solid deadline for the Kings.

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andy_sims
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February 11, 2022 12:07 pm

All of that taken into consideration, I’m giving the deadline a B-minus. That may seem a little harsh, but the Kings didn’t trade Richaun Holmes, who hasn’t looked engaged on the court, who hasn’t been good on the court, who is too good and too highly paid to be a 15 minute per game backup,

And you’re saying that other teams were incredibly enticed by the player you describe here? The offers must have absolutely been pouring in to obtain a player like this.

andy_sims
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February 11, 2022 12:15 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I’m honestly astounded at how much negative takes about the deadline are predicated on Tyrese Haliburton becoming a multiple-time all-star, or better.

I’ve been loudly disappointed in Monte McNair’s run as Sacramento Kings GM thus far, and while I don’t hate what he did at the deadline this year, trading Tyrese Haliburton this early in his career because of the organization’s obsession with ‘win-now’ is scary.

I’ll grant you that I’d be very happy if the Kings still decided to tank and go after a top-3 pick, but the dichotomy of win-now as opposed to win-later misses the point.

Without the trade, the dynamic you’d be looking it as win-when?

AnybodyButBagley
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February 11, 2022 12:22 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Problem with the Kangz and many Kangz fans. The potential instead of reality is the focus.

Reality is we suck. Potentially Haliburton is a Hall of Famer. Hopefully he is the best player ever. He is a great player and person.

But right now….this team needs help.

JoeMama
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February 11, 2022 1:01 pm

This!

look at the way this team played all season, they were garbage with or without Halliburton. Basketball is a team sport and the team sucked, you had to break them up. Getting an all star for “potential” is a lot better than taking a gamble on “potential”.

murraytant
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February 11, 2022 1:51 pm

so, anybody but Bagley, are you now dismissed? I saw Bagley’s right hand wave as he exited.

AnybodyButBagley
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February 11, 2022 8:00 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Not dismissed. Bagley is a shit head but the biggest problem is the team that drafted him. Drafting Bagley set this team back more than any pick in the history of the NBA.

That mistake is why I chose to go by AnyBodyButBagley.

murraytant
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February 12, 2022 8:24 am

I was funnin’ with ya.
I should be dismissed because I bought into the line about fit with Fox. I am a slow learner- you were prescient.

AnybodyButBagley
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February 12, 2022 9:19 am
Reply to  murraytant

It is hard for anyone to figure out the reality of this team….

Hopefully we are finally walking forward….

Rosevillain
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February 11, 2022 12:31 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Without the trade, the dynamic you’d be looking it as win-when?

And let’s not forget we have a coach to hire. What coach is going to want to come here for a torn-down team of 20-win kids for three years? This team is way more attractive to coaches with Sabonis, Fox, Barnes, and its picks.

outrider
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February 11, 2022 12:55 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I’m honestly astounded at how much negative takes about the deadline are predicated on Tyrese Haliburton becoming a multiple-time all-star, or better.

Head scratcher for me too as a lot of that stuff was similar to takes I read at the national level. I stated it somewhere else, but a lot of those national takes made it sound like we traded second year MJ for Larry Nance.

Sounds a lot like “I wanted McNair to do something, just what i thought he should do and not what he actually did.”

We still have the draft and the entire offseason to go for Monte to make more moves. If we go into next season with the exact same lineup, then I’d think there’s reason to complain.

WizsSox
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February 11, 2022 1:11 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I’m honestly astounded at how much negative takes about the deadline are predicated on Tyrese Haliburton becoming a multiple-time all-star

Ditto…Hali is a ton of fun and has many great qualities. But he still is a guy that in back to back years has basically averaged 14 and 7 on very good efficiency. Per 100 numbers this year, pretty damn close to last year. Wonderful player to have…as a 3rd option/distributor.

To those that point to Hali’s recent uptick in production the last couple weeks as the lead guy with Fox out. Well his efficiency dipped in those 8 games and his usage went up shot wise. Sure his raw numbers look better.

I don’t think it is out of realm of possibility that Hali is at or near approaching his peak. I find it a stretch to ever think Hali is a lead first or second option scorer on a good team. Can he average 20+ points while keeping efficiency? My guess is probably not. Is he a 22 and 10 guy at any point in his career. My guess is probably not. That’s a guy that you would be upset to give up on. If you think Hali is that type of guy in the future, then I guess that’s where the frustration begins.

My take, can Hali be an efficient 17 and 8 guy (little better than last couple years)…sure. But that’s not a guy people’s heads should be exploding over losing when getting someone like Sabonis back who seemingly offers a lot of the intangibles that Hali does but at a unique position to give them…playmaker who gets others involved, contagious passing, wants to be here etc.

I don’t know that this trade is a winner, but I do like it on the surface more as the shock wears off. I personally struggle to see how anybody can trade this deadline at less than a B based on what came in and what went out, but I guess that entirely depends on your view of Haliburton and his future.

Last edited 7 months ago by WizsSox
outrider
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February 11, 2022 1:44 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

If it’s possible for TH to become a hall of famer, isn’t possible that tearing it down to the studs save one or two guys results in nothing more than multiple low 20s win seasons before jumping right back on the treadmill of mediocrity? What happens to what’s left of the fanbase at that point? Or, if it’s possible for TH to be a hall of famer, isn’t possible that the recent moves become a catalyst for the next great Kings team as Monte keeps building and adding pieces?

WizsSox
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February 11, 2022 2:39 pm
Reply to  outrider

For sure. I was a tank guy for a long time. But I think it was Sports Junkie (maybe I misremember) who pointed out a year ago or so all the examples of small market teams who have achieved sustained success, without really completely tanking for a sustained time. It takes competence…which hasn’t been easy to find for the Kings.

I’ve backed Monte pretty strongly thinking he was taking the right approach, good drafts, not doing anything incredibly dumb just for doing something’s sake and waited for his moment…this is it. Time will tell if it was an approach that yields results…but I still liked the approach personally.

Sir_tajj
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February 11, 2022 3:35 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

To add to your point, Jonathan Tjarks(Ringer) had a different take on the situation than rest of national media. According to him, mysterious ankle injury that kept Fox out during that 8 game span was all orchestrated by the front office. They realized that w/ max contract, Fox would only appeal to a handful of team and those teams didn’t have the assets worth loosing fox over. Hali on the other hand can fit anywhere. Rebuilding team or a team trying to contend thanks to his contract. At that moment, they decided to really highlight Haliburton by giving him the lead role. During that 8 game span, Hali had 93 touches per game. That’s only 2nd to Jokic. Of course there was potential for that backfiring if he didn’t play well. And if it did, plan would’ve been to tank. But he played well enough to win over Indy.

andy_sims
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February 11, 2022 5:28 pm
Reply to  Sir_tajj

but i heard from everyone that he was a sulking prima donna

murraytant
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February 12, 2022 8:27 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Andy- while I would like to think that all these super-hero guys are above such worldly concerns, Fox did look happy at end of last game and Hali did say “go in different direction” implying a rivalry.

andy_sims
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February 12, 2022 3:58 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I never got any sense of friction between Fox and Haliburton. Teammates don’t always get along, but my read was that Fox appreciated what Ty brought to the mix. The kid freed Fox up to do some things he’d not been able to do before, and that was apparent from jump last season, perhaps Fox’s best.

Rougher sledding for Fox for much of this year, but that’s not attributable to Haliburton, unless you want to lump him in with the lumpy roster around Fox. If Fox was happy after the game, that’s understandable, and I’m sure he was excited about his glimpse through the door of what the pairing with Sabonis could become.

People throw a lot of things at Fox, but he’s a smart person. The team would be better if Haliburton could have remained along with Sabonis, but having both was simply impossible. He’s as frustrated as anyone, but I can’t imagine that he put any of it on Ty. The team made a change, I frankly doubt that they asked Fox’s opinion about it beforehand, and the first game was fun for everyone.

He and Haliburton, at least to my perception, seeded to get along great, and there was no shortage of praise from Fox for his teammate. I guess I’m just not buying this implied animus without evidence.

murraytant
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February 11, 2022 1:48 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Hali may or may not be an all-star. Sabonis already is. Tanking does not get a top 3 pick. Tanking gets a chance at that. Tanking comes, this year with severe competition from 7 other teams. And, even if the balls go right, there is always a Bagley.
This is the direction, like it or not.

RobHessing
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February 11, 2022 12:11 pm

“Let’s cut to the TKH offices, where Greg has just reviewed Rich’s comments” –
comment image

Last edited 7 months ago by RobHessing
Greg
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February 11, 2022 12:19 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

We keep Richard around so nobody can accuse of us groupthink

1951
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February 11, 2022 12:43 pm
Reply to  Greg

So, he is the Colmes in the Hannity and Colmes?

Kingsguru21
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February 12, 2022 7:17 am
Reply to  Greg

You’re always going to be a stupid bug eyed banana to me Greg. You can’t distract me with novelty items like your opinions.

jlandweh
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February 11, 2022 12:25 pm

This team was awful and has been awful for a very long time…at least the roster is now different. It could be great or it could be terrible. However; this team was going no where with limited cap space and the roster it had (including Haliburton). Why not change it up?

If it doesn’t work-we’re right back where we started.

In the meantime-a positive spin could be…the Kings kept all their draft picks. Imagine if a disgruntled mini star becomes available like Jaylen Brown, RJ Barrett (or someone like in that realm)? I believe a couple protected picks and Barnes or Lamb might get that done.

My point-this team was awful so why not change it up?

Dub_TC
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February 11, 2022 12:36 pm

Rich as he’s typing his grade

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1951
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February 11, 2022 12:42 pm

And folks accused me of pouting?

WizsSox
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February 11, 2022 12:46 pm
Reply to  1951

Hahaha. No kidding…Yeeesh.

outrider
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February 11, 2022 12:56 pm
Reply to  1951

Right?

RobHessing
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February 11, 2022 1:12 pm
Reply to  1951

You’re right – lets’ re-classify you as whining. 😉

1951
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February 11, 2022 2:22 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

You misspelled winning!

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Last edited 7 months ago by 1951
Kingsguru21
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February 11, 2022 1:54 pm
Reply to  1951

Pouting, whining, intellectually dishonest. Don’t worry, if I’m wrong, I’ll tell you as much. I hope I’m right, it means the Kings will have won 50+ games 3 years in a row….which they are quite the ways away from at this time IMO. But they are alot closer to that goal now than they were 96 hours ago.

I’ll leave it at that.

billoddity
February 11, 2022 12:51 pm

No one on this team except Haliburton would net an all-star in return. It’s the grim truth. Haliburton and Fox wouldn’t be a playoff winning combination without a massive haul of additional talent, which would probably never come. How do I know, because we’ve been doing this since 1986. I said in a different thread trading Haliburton was boarderline unacceptable, but when that’s your only high-end asset you’re in a massive dilemma. I assume for them to consider trading Haliburton any team had to take Buddy Hield which is a MASSIVE addition by subtraction. I will say I was completely enamored with the last game, it reminded me of the Divac high post Kings and was the first time I’ve smiled during a game in literally years.

Gregoryl
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February 11, 2022 1:04 pm
Reply to  billoddity

Hali leaving hurts, but getting Buddy hitched onto that deal is a HUGE win.

SexyNapear
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February 11, 2022 1:59 pm
Reply to  billoddity

I think I’m one of the few here who think Haliburton has been massively overrated.

I loved his attitude and unselfishness. I never really bought the future star stuff.

He was TERRIBLE on defense (on the same level as Fox).

His passing is okay, but he disappears for long stretches. I think he regresses offensively when teams start focusing on him.

Am I a scout? No.

Do I know what I’m talking about? Probably not.

Why are you reading this?

furious.d
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February 11, 2022 5:06 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

Why are you reading this?

You can’t prove that I am!!

keith_kar
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February 11, 2022 5:44 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

I agree with you on a lot of points on Hali. Nice player, but maybe not a future star at the level of what we got in return.

I would rate this trade a solid A

SelecaoKOJ
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February 11, 2022 12:57 pm

I would give Monte a solid C-. He was forced to make a change. Otherwise, he would be gone. I like Sabonis. But, Like Fox is a poor floor spacer and doesn’t really play any defense. Sabonis is really no better than a third option on a playoff team. The Kings still don’t have a Number One option. Fox is not. I would have preferred to move Holmes, Barnes and all the vets. Sit Fox the rest of the year with a ghost ankle problem, and keep Hali. The long term play would have yielded the Kings a real shot at a Top 5 pick. That’s the only way the Kings have any shot at getting a star. I would have Given Monte a D. Picking up DD elevated his grade.

The celiing for this team at best healty is 7-8. At best. The West will be back to normal next year: Zion, Murray, Porter, Kawhi, George, etc. all wil be returning.

Barnes is going to be 30 this year. The only player they have now with growth potential is Davion.

I believe both Fox and Sabonis are at their ceiling. Maybe, I will be proved wrong in the next 25 games. I am sure that’s what Monte is banking his job on. If for some reason this doesn’t work, Monte is gone after next year. It’s safe to say Monte will be on the Hot seat next season.

Sabonis puts up great numbers. My gut tells me Sabonis numbers were pretty empty. He was really the focal point of the offense. A team with no real backcourt and no real stars, or borderline stars. Much like Bradley Beal(Wizards). Sabonis was horrific in pretty much any playoff game.

Sabonis is truly not a modern NBA center. His shooting touch is pretty awful. You could see it against Minnty. Unless hie’s close to rim, doing putbacks or dunks. He has a very high motor and plays at a high level consistently. Sabonis is still the best player the Kings have acquired since Artest. He’s ust not good enough to elevate this team into any Top6 conversation. Not in the West.

The Roster is Top Heavy with a couple of really good offensive players. Fox/Sabonis. At least one young player with potential(Davion), and DD who will be a very nice role player, DD.

The Rest looks like:

This team is loaded with mediocre role players, stop gaps and suddenly aging players:

The aging:

Harkless: 30 next season
Justin Holiday: 33 this season
Barnes: 30 NExt Season
Holmes: 29 Next Season
Lamb: 30 this season
Len: 30 Next Seson

The G_league and Spot Minute Guys: Most of these players would be in the G league or get 10-15 minutes on most teams:

Woodard, Ramsey, Queta, Lyles, King, Jackson and Metu.

That’s more than 2/3 of your roster.

Davis, DD, and Davion, still have some upside. Davion clearly has the highest celiing.

Yes, the Kings are desperate to win now. But, this team is not built to win for the next 5-6 years. That could change nailing a draft pick, or dealing Fox for more picks or a borderline star. But, this team will never be a player for high valued free agents.

I could be wrong. But, it’s still talent that wins in the NBA. The Kings did just that. Sabonis and DD will equal more wins. At least for the next couple of years.

At the same time their ceiling for and sustained success is low and probably short.

OKC, Houston, Orlando and Detroit will all be good teams in the next 2-3 years. They have a plan, rising young stars, and are set up for multiple years of success. This blueprint is rather simple. The unfortunate part is Sac didn’t get the memo.

Last edited 7 months ago by SelecaoKOJ
markdog333
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February 11, 2022 1:41 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

OKC, Houston, Orlando and Detroit will all be good teams in the next 2-3 years. They have a plan, rising young stars, and are set up for multiple years of success. This blueprint is rather simple. The unfortunate part is Sac didn’t get the memo.

I am not collecting internet receipts or anything. Assuming that success equals a 6th seed or higher in this case, it will be interesting to see how many of these teams achieve that in the next 2-3 years.

murraytant
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February 11, 2022 1:45 pm
Reply to  markdog333

sometimes that works and sometimes it does not.

BestHyperboleEver
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February 11, 2022 2:19 pm
Reply to  markdog333

Likely 2 or 3. Most NBA teams reach at least roughly that level every 2-3 years.

rockbottom
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February 11, 2022 5:25 pm
Reply to  markdog333

Most will still be bottom feeders in 2-3 years !

murraytant
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February 11, 2022 1:44 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

I wanted the Kings to trade them all and keep 1-2 for the future (like OKC with SGA, Suns with Booker and Bulls with Zach)- keep 1-2 guys and trade the rest, get bad and get a pick. This was not the preference of corporate. On the other hand, the Kings were never going to catch the Big Bad Bottom Four- they had a head start on losing and tons of all the loose good picks. And, after the TDL, clear that SAS, Blazers and Pacers wanted to go down. Kings would have had to compete with those 3 for the 5th spot. And the draft is not that good- 3 probably good ones and a bunch of guesses. Last few drafts much better. The savior was just not there. And waiting for 2024? now you got Pacers, SAS, Blazers and bottom 4 f to still contend with. There is a myth that losing always results in a good pick and player and then a Bagley comes along to spoil that notion.
My preference was indeed that direction and I can see the flaws there- and mostly because now I see SAS, Blazers and Pacers also have that idea and plan. There were strategic options and they picked one.

BestHyperboleEver
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February 11, 2022 2:05 pm
Reply to  murraytant

SGA and LaVine were acquired as part of those teams’ rebuilds.

rockbottom
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February 11, 2022 5:28 pm

Chicago built on trades ! Lavine, Vucivich, Derozan , abs Ball !

murraytant
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February 12, 2022 8:35 am

this is a timing issue. They both acquired these guys from others early on but when they really took the building down to the studs, they kept these guys. Point was a potential future good player stays throughout the deep rebuild.
all that aside, I would have preferred keeping 1-2 guys and start at the studs. Kings corporate “went in a different direction”. Similar perhaps to the Bulls with Vuc last year.

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February 11, 2022 4:35 pm
Reply to  murraytant

It was not just about losing to position ourselves better. It was obtaining draft capital and cap space in addition to further evaluating all our young players. I don’t see how Playing a bunch of journeyman veterans the rest of the way does us any good. I personally don’t want to see Harkless, Lyles, Holiday, Len and I’m not too excited about still having Holmes and Barnes. I would have moved them for draft picks and/or cap space.

murraytant
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February 12, 2022 8:38 am
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

Twin strategy: trade all assets to get cap space and to lose, lose to get high pick(s),

andy_sims
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February 11, 2022 2:04 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Empty numbers, jfc

“Better return that rebound son, it won’t singlehandedly win this game or get us to the playoffs.”

Just beyond silly, this.

Rosevillain
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February 11, 2022 2:19 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

This blueprint is rather simple. The unfortunate part is Sac didn’t get the memo.

Neither did Chicago or Phoenix.

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February 11, 2022 4:08 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

OKC, Houston, Orlando and Detroit will all be good teams in the next 2-3 years. They have a plan, rising young stars, and are set up for multiple years of success. 

Bet you a nickel at least 2 of those teams are still in the lottery in 2 years….is there a guaranteed Top 30 player on any of those rosters, currently? SGA I guess is closest to it and arguable. His numbers this year eerily similar to Fox. Those teams still have to execute the hard part. Consolidating their assets into one larger asset or not missing in the top half of the draft and have that player become an immediate impact (tough).

Very possible some of those teams are better than the Kings in 2 years, but tanking is one blueprint for success. It doesn’t guarantee it.

Last edited 7 months ago by WizsSox
Kings-Rebuild
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February 11, 2022 4:29 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

The chosen path gives us a ceiling of around 7-8 in the best year. Yeah we’ll be a little better early but it’s not a long term sustainable winning path unless we pull something magical out of the next draft and that will be tough if we slip to 10.

Sir_tajj
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February 11, 2022 4:47 pm
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

Lol how about we cross that bridge when we get there? It’s been 15 years. I’ll gladly take 4-5 years of + .500 basketball, even if it meant we’d have to rebuild after that, than another 4-5 years of banking on potential.

Kings-Rebuild
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February 11, 2022 5:00 pm
Reply to  Sir_tajj

I wouldn’t, the goal is to position yourself to compete for championships not to obtain mediocrity. I will however saying predicting the ceiling is nothing more than a wild ass guess. I prefer having Haliburton under our control for 7 seasons as opposed to worrying about resigning Sabonis in two years. Still it’s going to come down to scoring big and getting a little lucky in the draft like Denver, Utah, Boston, Milwaukee, Golden State did with the Joker, Mitchell Gobert, Tatum Brown, Giannis, Curry thompson Green. Most of the sustainable winning franchises did it through the draft except for a couple of teams like the Lakers who basically bought a team a model the Kins can’t adopt.

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February 11, 2022 5:29 pm
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

Other than the bucks last year and Warriors, which one of those teams, you mentioned that built through the draft, are truly a Championship contender? Are they any bigger of a contender then the suns? Or the bulls? Clippers?

I respect your opinion. From my point of view, if we can atleast get the ball rolling, it’ll make it easier to attract those key role players, it’ll give our draft picks time to develop and become contributors rather than expecting them to carry the weight of this franchise.

7 years of team control on Hali? We already played that game with boogie, Evans and others. We always failed at getting them a solid number two. We finally fixed that with fox and it cost Hali to fix it. If we kept Hali, it would’ve cost something else important down the road to get him help.

you gotta give something to get something. We are a lot closer to a contender now than we were 3 days ago. I’ll take the positive momentum.

rockbottom
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February 11, 2022 5:33 pm
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

Milwaukee built with a 16 th pick and 2nd rounder and trades !

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February 11, 2022 7:20 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

That’s the definition of scoring big and getting a little lucky in the draft. That’s the major component on how most teams do it.

murraytant
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February 12, 2022 8:49 am
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

Interesting note- yes most of these teams build through draft but what was the number of their picks? Except for the Celts guys, all were outside top 6.

rockbottom
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February 11, 2022 5:31 pm
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

The last 2 MVP ‘s were selected at 16 and 33 !

Kings-Rebuild
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February 11, 2022 7:20 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

Again, scoring big and getting a little lucky in the draft. You’ve confirmed my point twice now.

murraytant
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February 12, 2022 8:46 am
Reply to  WizsSox

there are quite different ways to move up, re-build or whatever. In the more recent past, I look at the Bulls, Suns, Cavs, Memphis (sort of) and a few others and see what they did- how They did it. All those teams were “down there” competing with the Kings. Now all improved but took different routes. The current Big Bad Bottom Four are taking a similar approach- trade down to the studs, get bad, get space and get good picks. OKC is the poster child.
Cavs got good picks and made use of them. and took advantage of the Nets trying to get space (Allen)
Bulls- kept LaVine and traded for Vuc and added FA’s.
Grizz drafted well
Suns kept a player, drafted well, got lucky and got CP3.

There is a story- and not the same one- for every rising team.

Kingsguru21
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February 12, 2022 12:08 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Cavs got good picks and made use of them. and took advantage of the Nets trying to get space (Allen)

Bulls- kept LaVine and traded for Vuc and added FA’s.

Grizz drafted well

Suns kept a player, drafted well, got lucky and got CP3.

There is a story- and not the same one- for every rising team.

I think alot of fans have ‘grass is greener on the other side’ syndrome. Coby Altman was an idiot until he wasn’t, for instance.

I don’t think there’s any question the Kings loved Ty. The issue is making yourself better, and the path to get there. Lots of fans wanted to keep Ty, and Davion for alot of fans, and move on from everyone else. Rip it down to the studs. And since that strategy was not employed, some people are pissed.

What these people have not done, IMO, is really illustrate why. And it’s still unclear how the Kings get to 50+ wins 3 times in the next 5 seasons with Ty for me. With Domas and De’Aaron, I expect that to be the next 3 seasons. And that to me is the goal.

Kings-Rebuild
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February 11, 2022 4:25 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Other than saying Sabonis is not a modern day center (no such thing), I agree with everything else you said with several good supporting points you made.

murraytant
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February 12, 2022 3:50 pm
Reply to  Kings-Rebuild

A modern-day center is not a modern-day center when the modern becomes old.

SuperShaka
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February 12, 2022 4:41 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Of the players you mentioned as suddenly aging players, the only ones brought in at the deadline are Lamb and Holiday. But Hield and Thompson will be 30 and 31 respectively next year. Most of the age that was added this week are players that are in or entering to their primes as contributors.

GreatSuccess
February 11, 2022 1:01 pm

“…Sabonis, but the truth is that he is not a franchise-altering player.” – Rich

Are you serious? I’d love to hear your definition of a franchise-altering player. Was Ja Morant available? You know, Ben Simmons and James Harden have been really franchise-altering players lately too, maybe dude’s who quit on their team is who you had in mind. (Speaking of which, Monte managed to ship out two of those)

OK snark-level down from 11, I think Monte did about as well as he could have. I hate losing Tyrese, but his value was super high and fetched a great return. I’m sure the Pacers would have preferred we take a lesser player too, but they had to give up something big to make it work.

From what I can see, Domas will bring DMC’s skillset, except with better passing and court awareness, more movement, and will be way easier to root for. He is going to open up so much more of the offense, and will unlock more playing time for Davion.

I have to admit, i wasn’t sure how a big would adjust things, but when he’s that skilled, it really benefits everyone. Go Kings!!

Last edited 7 months ago by GreatSuccess
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February 11, 2022 1:18 pm
Reply to  GreatSuccess

Not to speak for Rich, but I’m going to speak for Rich –

I think that his take is that Sabonis is not that franchise centerpiece, and that (a) you’re only going to find that guy by being bad and getting good draft picks, and (b) Hali might be as good or better than Sabs by the time he hits 25.

I think that the blow it up and start over path has a larger space to work in, but it would take more time. I also didn’t think that the Kings could add a player of Sabonis’ caliber without parting with either Fox or Hali plus a pick or two, so while I am sad to see Hali go, it’s nice that we still have our full complement of future picks.

My opinions come with a 0-100% guarantee that they could be wrong, so I might be wrong about rebuild > re-tool. Time will tell. Rich is far more convinced than I am that this is a mistake. I give him credit for being steadfast in his opinion, and knowing Rich as I do, I know that he would love to be proven wrong by this team.

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February 11, 2022 3:57 pm
Reply to  GreatSuccess

Tyrese was the best player on a 20 win team and he was traded for the best player on a (checks notes) 19 win team. If Sabonis a franchise-altering player then why was his team, which consisted of better players and a hall-of-fame coach worse off? Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for Sabonis and think he is an excellent player but if he and Fox are your best players then you’d better bookmark Tankathon in your browser for the next few years.

In other words, I’m not sure the Kings got better but they definitely got different. Time will tell, just like it will for Halliburton’s potential improvement as a basketball player.

Sir_tajj
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February 11, 2022 4:18 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Better players? Domas hasn’t had a teammate at Fox’s level since Oladipo went down with his career altering injury. Prior to that he and Oladipo were good enough for 5th, 5th and 4th seed in consecutive years. If it weren’t for Oladipo getting hurt, Sobonis probably wouldn’t be here right now. Might wanna check those notes again.

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February 11, 2022 6:10 pm
Reply to  Sir_tajj

Malcolm Brogdon is very much on par with Fox, if not better.

Carl
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February 11, 2022 5:26 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

If Sabonis a franchise-altering player then why was his team, which consisted of better players and a hall-of-fame coach worse off? Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for Sabonis and think he is an excellent player but if he and Fox are your best players then you’d better bookmark Tankathon in your browser for the next few years.

Yep. This is where I’m at as well. I like Sabonis, but odds are better than not that this still isn’t a .500 team. It’s a first step, and I give McNair a B-. The big trade carries some risk, but it’s not unreasonable given the “win-now” approach. It turned what should have been a 35 win team into a ~39 win team.

More wing depth is fine, though I don’t think any of the (non-Sabonis, non-DiVincenzo) players are needle movers, it gives the team a look at some new players, which is good. There’s no use sitting on middling vets on a bad team. Churn these players until you find something or you’re a winner.

Bagley had been reduced to *zero* value, so trading him for DiVincenzo is a good return. That being said, DiVincenzo has had one season out of four that he was actually a good three point shooter, so I can’t say I’m EXCITED about his potential, but it’s the kind of positive value, minor trade that I’ve been hoping they would make and will keep making.

I’m hoping DiVincenzo opens the door to moving Terence Davis. And can we please cut Josh Jackson yesterday? I wonder what percentage of the total number of NBA players who have hit or otherwise threatened women the team has employed over the last five years. Whatever it is, it’s too high.

Getting rid of Bagley, Hield and Thompson are all positives. I wonder how much the team’s defense improves just by not having Hield and Bagley (and literally having anyone else) on the floor.

So, B- from me in that they wanted to improve the team *right now* and I think they (maybe) added ~4 wins. That’s nothing to be excited about, but Sabonis is a very good player and DiVincenzo might have some upside, though that’s far from certain.

I don’t really care about the coaching decision this offseason. This team still has serious issues with fit and talent that coaching can’t fix. Overall, good first step. Let’s see if they can add some talent this offseason and not wait a year to figure out that this isn’t a .500 team.

Last edited 7 months ago by Carl
rockbottom
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February 11, 2022 5:37 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

There second and 3rd best players , Warren, Brogden have missed most of the season ! Sabonis was the best player on the last 2. Pacer playoff teams !

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February 11, 2022 6:09 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

Come on man…uhhhh. Myles Turner and Caris LeVert would like a word.

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February 11, 2022 1:02 pm

I am in the firm belief that getting Sabonis, even with giving up Haliburton, is a firm step forward. There is more than a decent chance that he has not hit his ceiling yet as a player, I dont know how much everyone has watched Indiana play basketball the last couple of years, but it has definitely endured a Kangzian malaise, between Oladipo making Buddy seem like teammate of the year, to some odd coaching choices, to his never really fitting with Turner on the court.

If there is more juice to squeeze from his game, perhaps it comes with a move to Sacramento. If McNair can make a really smart coaching hire, Sabonis and Fox might each nudge their game up a notch, and the FO still has some reasonably priced talent in Barnes, Holmes, and probably DDV, as well as all of their draft capitol, to either build with or build around that group. I think Holiday is a good asset, certainly next year as a good value throw in to salary match, and they get to test run a couple of end of the rotation players in Lyles, JJ, and Lamb. TD is probably going to be a good value to contract next year as 4m, Len would be easy to move off of, and there are cheap and mildly interesting end of the roster players in Metu and Jones. To parrot Rob above, if there is a third substantial or potentially substantial player(s) they have their eye one, it seems McNair has maintained plenty of the flexibility he has been saying is his goal.

My guess is, with a good coaching decision, that Fox and Sabonis can bring a better version of each other than we have seen.

markdog333
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February 11, 2022 1:27 pm

First, I am not buying the notion that teams did not know Haliburton was available. It seemed apparent to me for at least a week prior to the trade that everyone was on the table. It reads more like sour grapes to me.

Second, (this isn’t directed to anyone in particular) I have been reading articles and comments for years about asset management, and bemoaning not making trades while players are at their peak value. A promising young player on the 2nd year of their rookie deal is about as valuable as an asset gets, and if Haliburton doesn’t reach that all-star level, his value as an asset could decrease. He still has a ways to go as a player to be worth a Fox level contract which I am sure he will get at the end of his rookie deal. Anyway, this is what trying to trade assets at their peak value looks – you never really know whether it was the peak or not until you are on the downward slope.

Somewhat related, I think Haliburton will excel with Rick Carlisle, and I am excited for his future.

Like pretty much everyone else has said, it is not the direction I would have picked, but it is a direction! My grading would pretty much be the same as Bryant’s.

The Kings still have assets in their draft picks if they want to try to land another good player in the summer. If Harrison Barnes is your 4th best player, you probably have a pretty solid team, and that would likely be a role he can excel in.

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February 11, 2022 1:34 pm
Reply to  markdog333

First, I am not buying the notion that teams did not know Haliburton was available.

As if every team would’ve been lining up their All-Stars for Hali had they only known. Spare me, they would’ve wasted Monte’s time trying to rip him with second and third-tier players.

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February 11, 2022 2:08 pm
Reply to  Rosevillain

I’ve been thinking that for days now. As if we’re not going to give every team an opportunity to get in on the Haliburton sweepstakes, because we’re only interested in Sabonis.

That’s a lot of backdoor bullshit to guys like Woj to get themselves off the hook for not doing better.

Carl
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February 11, 2022 5:34 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I don’t buy that narrative either. There’s no way the Kings front office called one team about Tyrese. And really, how many teams had a 25 year old All Star they were willing to deal for Tyrese anyway? I doubt the Grizzlies were calling with a deal for Ja Morant.

Last edited 7 months ago by Carl
Kingsguru21
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February 11, 2022 9:13 pm
Reply to  Carl

Ty for Ja is a deal the NBA should void. That’s criminal. Since David Jacoby is intent on the NBA voiding a deal with Tyrese Haliburton in it.

murraytant
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February 11, 2022 1:28 pm

On Hali’s comments: to paraphrase- they got rid of me, they wanted to go in a different direction.
The first part reinforces my view that the capitalists always win. Vivek is the capitalist here- he makes money off the player’s labor. The player’s value is seen only as far as do they help me make money (better product, I assume). Their commitment and feelings and “”love” don’t count. Hali, bless his heart, believes the opposite and I feel for him. I genuinely think he is a good person. The second part: I think this uncovers a hidden or unconscious tension on the team- Fox vs. Hali. They were competing for time, for attention, for focus and for control. It’s in their nature. Hali thought he won that battle and there are many who agree. In fact, I think the Pacers agreed. Hence, he is gone.

The Kings were worse than the sum of their parts, the two PGs had redundant or incompatible games. Both blossomed when the other was absent. If they kept up what they were doing, they would have finished 8th from bottom. (Pacers, SAS and Blazers determined to join the Big Bd Bottom Four. and something would have had to happen off season. Vivek worried about product. Monte worried about job.
My preference would have been trade them all but Fox and Hali, try to get to 5th. Not ownership preference. Pacers wanted Hali, not Fox (salary +) and they were motivated to move a pretty good player. The competition for that move would have been greater in off season, so jumping now makes sense, especially if the preference is “try hard”. Good first game. Let’s see next 10 games. This could be a similar move to last year’s Bulls at TDL when they got Vuc. Difference was Orlando picked up a #8 pick instead of good, young player.
Buddy had to go. His game has changed a lot. He was biased towards a shot before but now in his decision tree, ALL branches lead to SHOOT!. He seems to be worried about his value and goes to his one big strength- shoot the 3. He hit some but at the expense of flow and chemistry. His salary made the trade possible.
MB3 had to go- his game changed this year, but he seemed too cautious.
He has some skill, but his legacy is tainted here. It just does not seem that he can surpass Metu or Harkless.
Getting DDV for him seems like a gift. Just hope the ankle can heal. Bad injury, slow recovery. Irony- Pat C. broke his hand last night.
The oldest Holiday might help- a better Corey Brewer.

Good idea to keep Barnes given the corporate preference here.
Holmes- my guess that there was not a lot of market. Hornets looked at Pfertal and bought cheap on Harrell.
Defense will be better. No Buddy.
Offense will have to more varied, more cutting, more participants.
I have drunk Kings Cool-Aid since 1985. No gulps here but I am thinking about taking a sip.
In my grievance process, I am in deep acceptance. Past anger, denial and bargaining towards whatever.
But best case- Kings pass Pacers and Blazers of course, and SAS. Could catch NOP for 10th in West and pass Washington and NYK in draft position. Might win a play-in game if against the hated LAL but chances of actual playoffs are slim.
Real best case is a Bulls like turnaround in 2023. Now I am talking like a true Kings fan- next year!!!

Ccc
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Ccc
February 11, 2022 1:30 pm

How many promising players a have kings fans hoped would become all stars but never panned out. I can’t even count them. I’m not saying haliburton won’t be an all star but I think it’s smarter to take the proven player (Sabonis) than the player with potential.

andy_sims
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February 11, 2022 2:11 pm
Reply to  Ccc

That’s true. If you’re a pretty good team, or bordering on becoming one, you may be more inclined to keep such a promising young player. If Indy was a playoff team, neither Sabonis nor Turner would have been available, barring a return that’s basically inconceivable.

Sir_tajj
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February 11, 2022 4:24 pm
Reply to  Ccc

Bird in hand is worth two in the bush. We got the all star that was promised.

Klam
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February 11, 2022 1:37 pm

Pictured: TKH staff at their Royal Roundtable meeting:

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Ccc
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Ccc
February 11, 2022 1:38 pm

Kings fans have an inferiority complex. It’s more comfortable rooting for “potential” like we have for the last 20 years. Potential is a losing strategy. If they can bag one more star player they are a top 10 team.

Ccc
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Ccc
February 11, 2022 1:57 pm
Reply to  Ccc

Plus you need a guy like Sabonis who can come and shake up the culture. No one is going to thrive with a bad culture. Fox is not a leader. Maybe Sabonis can get guys playing like a team.

Rosevillain
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February 11, 2022 1:59 pm
Reply to  Ccc

A reflection of the city. Truly embarrassing how nobody has found an avenue to save MLS here.

Gojira2021
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February 11, 2022 1:46 pm

Hey Rich, what did you think of the trades???

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OG_Aggie
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February 11, 2022 1:55 pm

A. Why? Because as much as I loved Tyrese, Mitchell/Fox made him expendable. And I think Monte knew it after the draft. I may be giving him too much credit, but it’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it.

SlamsonsRollerskates
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February 11, 2022 2:05 pm

As a teacher this assessment is quite simple. As a Kings fan this is utterly complicated.

Trading Haliburton: F
Acquiring Domas: A

This is the majority of the grade and averages out to a C.

Other assignments: getting rid of Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson while acquiring two wings (with minimal to no salary cap implications) bumps the overall grade up to a C+. Roster is more balanced.

Trading Marvin Bagley for the Big Ragu (RFA) plus a flier on Josh Jackson (expiring) and Trey Lyles (Team Option) was marvelous. To me this trade proved Monte is, at the very least, a formidable negotiator. Overall grade now at a B-.

Maintaining salary cap flexibility going forward moves the grade up to a B.

Not giving up any future assets moves the grade to a B+.

In my personal estimation, trading for Sabonis (or a player with his skill level, age, and contract) while retaining Haliburton was the only way to achieve an A. That would have been the definition of excelling at the trade deadline. We could have still gone for the play-in spot while holding onto our best asset and potentially best player by competing now AND building for the future at a lower cost (difference between Fox’s and Hali’s contract). Alas, Monte was publicly given the green light to make any move he wanted, which tells me Vivek was telling him he had the green light to make any move he wanted to make the playoffs this year.

Considering the results and circumstances, overall grade of a B+ is given to the Kings.

MidtownMike
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February 11, 2022 2:31 pm

Rich is triiiiipppppin

SlamsonsRollerskates
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February 11, 2022 2:39 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

As Kings fans, we all have a little Dick in us.

AlRey
February 11, 2022 2:40 pm

If McNair thinks that Fox and Haliburton can’t be optimized alongside each other, and if Fox’s value wasn’t terribly high at the moment, maybe this was a chance to trade Haliburton at peak value. 

Isn’t it also possible that Monte compares Haliburton and Fox and determines that they can’t be optimized alongside each other and that Fox is simply the better player? So trade for someone you have targeted (Sabs) that you think can push Fox towards his ceiling (and vice versa). Maybe it is just me, but comparing Fox and Hali and coming away with the belief that Fox is simply the higher ceiling, better player and leaning into that direction is not such a crazy notion.

AmateurNerd
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February 11, 2022 3:05 pm
Reply to  AlRey

As a Hali > Fox person, I must say: watching Fox make super-fast cuts to the hoop and receive sharp passes from Sabonis could be very, very fun to watch. The Kings basically transformed their playing style overnight, from a guard-initiated/dominant offense (Hali- and Fox-led) to a system based on passing from the (high) post (Sabonis-led).

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February 11, 2022 3:41 pm
Reply to  AlRey

Coming away with the belief that Fox is simply the higher ceiling, better player and leaning into that direction is not such a crazy notion.

This was my first thought when trying to digest the trade. Fox hasn’t been great this year. But I do think he has higher end scoring talent than Hali. This was a guy that averaged 30 for an entire month and could have won player of the month. That’s the ceiling difference for me.

Scoring talent obviously isn’t the end all be all, but it’s pretty difficult (not impossible) to be a good team without a guy that can consistently score 24-25 a night on reasonable efficiency. I don’t think Hali is ever that type of guy (not that he needs to be), but having a player that has the ability to create his own shot at end of games, shot clock is pretty valuable and necessary on quality teams.

Fox was better at that last year than this one. If he can ever get to even 35% from 3, I think we are talking about a player that can take a decent step forward into Top 30 territory.

Kingsguru21
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February 12, 2022 7:19 am
Reply to  WizsSox

New rule: You are required to comment in every thread.

Kingsguru21
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February 11, 2022 2:44 pm

The deadline as a whole I’d grade as a B+ mainly because there is not a solution with Richaun Holmes at this time.

Your view of Haliburton colors your view of that trade. Potential All Star? Can see that. Potential franchise guy? Much tougher to see for me. Then again I didn’t think the Kings were better without Fox and with Haliburton at the controls. Both options weren’t especially all that appealing with the supporting cast as constituted.

Therefore, you have choices to make. Do you trade Fox if you can and keep Haliburton? If the right pieces are in play? Absolutely IMO. Especially if you can also move Buddy Hield. But what if you can’t do that?

I’ve said it a couple times in threads (that are likely buried and a tad tough to read now) Do you trade Fox for Randle, keep Haliburton and Hield? Or do you do this trade for Domas and keep Fox? IMO, asking Haliburton to make up for a sunk cost in Buddy Hield is just so difficult it wasn’t worth banking on such. Especially for a guy who isn’t as good as Domas in Randle. Plus, Domas is 2 years younger than Julius Randle, too.

The bet is that Fox and Sabonis can grow together as already established NBA players with room for growth in their game still. The bet is that you can still find other pieces to compliment them smartly with draft picks and trades especially. (Cap room is highly unlikely unless there are teams that really want a lot of these guys.) And there is Free Agency and the NT MLE at the very least.

The Kings still need that 3rd guy. They need to find ways to address the weaknesses (better 3&D guys, rim protection mainly), and Fox and Sabonis need to add to their game. Sabonis in shooting better from the 3 point line, and Fox in facilitating, 3 point shooting and defense. Leadership could stand to improve, too. Perhaps a player like Domas helps in that regard, too.

The Kings need to carve out a role for Holmes that makes sense and allows him production and time on the floor both with and without Domas. I think we’ve seen the Barnes role already, and figure out a rotation at some point.

I think the goal is to win 50+ games 3 years in a row. Which has happened exactly once in this history of this franchise. And I think is quite possilbe depending on how this team performs over the next 8 weeks and the moves that are made in the next 4-5 months overall. I would be far less optimistic if the Kings had kept Haliburton, traded Fox for Randle or a 30 cents dollar on the trade less appealing than an aging and over 30 by the end of his contract Julius Randle. And having to buy out Buddy Hield. Which I maintain is what they were looking at had they decided to keep Haliburton. Like it or not, the Kings cashed out their best asset (on the roster at least) for a very high return.

The options and ability to build this roster dramatically improved by trading Tyrese Haliburton. The downside is you had to trade Tyrese Haliburton to do so. And so it goes, detective lieutenant.

MauricePWhippoorwill
February 11, 2022 2:49 pm

Talk about a buzz kill.

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PatFenis
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February 11, 2022 3:08 pm

Wow, there are certainly some spicy takes in this article.

Rosevillain
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February 11, 2022 3:27 pm
Reply to  PatFenis

Is Fenis a common last name somewhere in the world?

andy_sims
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February 11, 2022 3:33 pm
Reply to  Rosevillain

Kennebunkport, Maine

PatFenis
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February 11, 2022 3:34 pm
Reply to  Rosevillain

Yes. Hope that clears it up.

Rosevillain
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February 11, 2022 3:46 pm
Reply to  PatFenis

Originally attributed to a very special clan, I speculate.

Kings-Rebuild
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February 11, 2022 3:41 pm

I tend to agree with Rich although I think a F grade is a little harsh. I certainly don’t understand the other evaluators when they say it’s not the preferred direction and then turn around and give them a B grade. When I was in school a C was an average grade and at best this is a C but I’m in the C-/D+ camp. I think a part of the grade inflation might be a hangover from the euphoria of game 1 with Sabonis who did have an impressive performance. With that said, keep in mind the Pacers and Sabonis were not winning with other players like Turner, LaVert, Brogdan, etc. a better supporting cast than Sabonis has with the Kings Currently. All this talk about fit doesn’t interest me too much because good/very good/great players find a way to make things work. Sure we could use a little more perimeter shooting, interior defense, and other things but most of all we need a couple of more really good all around basketball players like Haliburton. If we get that fit takes care of itself. I just don’t know how we proceed from here without giving up future draft choices. For this to ultimately work IMO, we have to get very lucky in the upcoming draft and get an impact player that steps in immediately. Sabonis will not likely be here in two years unless we get some more players around him and that’s a big ask.

As for the Big Ragu. The Kings have had a history of overpaying for their in house players like Buddy, Holmes, and others. I few good games from DD and I can him getting twice his market value with the Kings and once again we have another contract we’d like to move. The Kings should have kept Haliburton and methodically worked through this rebuild. They had Haliburton basically under their control for 6 plus years. Yes that was the preferred direction and since they didn’t do that they get a below average grade.